Academics / Lifestyle

Taylor Swift courses enter the classroom

Many young people are interested in Taylor Swift, from all over the world to here at Dana Hall. Swift is a 12-time Grammy winner and arguably the biggest pop star today. She is so successful in her field of singing and songwriting that her work is being taught in universities. Harvard, Stanford, New York University, Rice, Arizona State University, and Berklee School of Music are just some of the schools that are offering courses about Taylor Swift.

Swift is not the first celebrity to be studied. Elvis, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and more have had a course taught about their business, life, or music. Rather than being studied at just one or two schools, Swift’s work is entering several universities with growing popularity. 

Each school is taking a different angle on covering her work. Harvard English professor Stephanie L. Burt is teaching ‘‘Taylor Swift and Her World,’’ an English-class style approach to studying her lyrics. Lizzy Ackognal ‘25, co-founder of the new Taylor Swift club at Dana Hall, thinks that Swift “is kind of like a poet…one of the reasons why people love her so much is because of her words and how much they connect to people.’’

Stanford undergraduate student Ava Jeffs will be teaching a 10-week course on Taylor Swift in the Spring 2024 semester, titled “The Last Great American Songwriter: Storytelling With Taylor Swift Through the Eras.’’ Jeffs told BestColleges that she was inspired by other universities to ‘‘design her own Swift-inspired course focused on the evolution of Taylor Swift’s storytelling.” Jeffs’s class is focused on the motifs, literary references, and themes within each album, and how they have developed over Swift’s career. Eva Buckley ‘25, co-founder of Dana’s Taylor Swift club, thinks these classes are “a cool new way to get people engaged in English.’’

Not all universities are focusing on her lyricism. C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston is offering “The Entrepreneurial Genius of Taylor Swift,” taught by Professor Kelly McCormick. “You definitely don’t have to be a hardcore fan,” McCormick says, “To learn and appreciate the entrepreneurial genius that has made Taylor Swift an international phenomenon.” This angle on Swift focuses on her expertise in marketing, fan engagement, community building and brand strategies. 

TIME Magazine named Taylor Swift as 2023 person of the year. She has a large influence on the world as a businesswoman, storyteller, and pop star. Her influence has entered Dana Hall in the form of an interest club, since ‘‘Dana Hall has a lot of Swifties, and we’re planning on having conversations about current or past events [in her life].’’ Says Lizzy. Eva added that ‘‘It’s a great common shared interest for a lot of people who might not otherwise be friends.’’

Taylor Swift’s career is far from complete, as she plans on re-recording all of her past albums to own the songs in her name. Her most recent re-release is “1989 (Taylor’s Version).” Fans are expecting “Reputation (Taylor’s Version)” as her next re-recording, as hinted on her instagram. 

Image Source: CNN

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